Monday, July 25, 2005

Nerves

Sometimes you step on someone's (invisible to you) raw nerve, without meaning to, without even understanding it was there, and you get a pretty strong reaction. But you can't put the smoke back in the cigarette, can you.

I seem to be having a bit of a hard time recently, on too many different fronts at once. Here are a few of them:

I have a most valued employee, who looks burnt out and about to quit on me. Its too bad, I love her for herself, aside from the major and almost irreplaceable contribution she makes. And I don't quite know what to do. But I have to do something. I asked too much of her and she stepped up to a plate that was maybe too big and too soon for her. But I really didn't have any choice. Well, I have to do something, once I figure out what it might be. I just can't lose her.

I belong to a board of directors of an organization, and suddenly we have deep and nasty politics going on, and I'm not sure why. I've surely taken some major body blows on the matter, even though I am not sure that I am more than an incidental target. I'm just too sunny a personality in some ways, I always assume the best of everybody and am so shocked when people actually turn out to have malicious motives. Or get violent when I inadvertently step on a nerve. Because of my big mouth. And one of my colleagues clearly does not have the best motives, I think it might go beyond me having said something stupid. I wish I knew which one, and what I could do to make them a friend again.

A discussion board I belong to has taken a nasty turn. I'm not one of the players in the flamewar, though I've taken some collateral damage, but it pisses me off no end, I really don't know why people act this way. I really don't know why people act that way.

And then I privately asked what seemed to me a pretty innocent question of someone I admire, and got very publically tarred and feathered and hung out to dry, and quite the angry lynch mob assembled.

I dunno, maybe I should just go back to writing poetry for myself, and stop trying to participate in the world.

Then I remember Charles. And Idris.

What they taught me, is, you actually can save people, if you take the time to listen, and have the patience to let them find their own way. And then they teach you so much. Idris was the wisest man I ever met. Charles was probably the strongest. Both, in their own ways, really did not fit into this world, and had a lot of trouble.

Once I understood that they were survivors, who would somehow live no matter what I did, I was able to turn a few keys, undo or cut through a few Gordian knots with them.

Everyone, in their horrible misdirected and mis-spent life, will probably save at least one other person at some point, even inadvertently. But for me, it was a drug, and I wanted it and I still want more. And I think I've done more good than harm in my life, though surely I've done both. Thats what my dad told me to do, and Pops, I've done my best, whilst trying to do things, not be a spectator.

I am famous, in my industry, for insisting that we talk about love. Because we are in human services, in family services, it is fundamental, its the elephant in the room. And I for one am not willing to leave it nameless and invisible. Mostly the system regards it as a fault, because we all love inappropriately, stupidly, dangerously. But it is also what makes us what we are, and gives us so much of our strength. And we all do it, we all love, every misbegotten bastard one of us. Compassion is in seeing that, thats what compassion is, I think.

I think the biggest reason I have had some success in life, is that I'm not scared. No, I am very scared, I am and have been scared all my life. But I don't let it take me. I don't let it shape me. I don't let it become me. Fear, is I think, the worst thing in the world, and leads to do the worst things we do. I won't let it. I will remember love, and love, and remember with love.

No fear, I will face it all, and not serve my fears, only let them serve me. Fear is my energy, not to be denied, but not to be my master. I will not have it.

Well this has gone completely off the rails.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Got Drunk

I seem to have pissed alot of people off. Not in person, but then I logged on. Apparently I type nastier than I speak.

So sorry, everyone. Very very sorry. I've been a bad boy, and I know it, in so far as I can recall it.

I'm really pretty nice in person. And boy, does my head hurt right now, so I am suffering for it, you've got yours back if I dissed you I suppose.

Got to go throw up now.

Cheers

Monday, July 04, 2005

Girl School

My daughters are in middle school. They deal with politics so intense it would make Paul Martin take pause.

Here's the scenario: girl A (the Anonymous source) tells girl B (the go Between) that girl C (the Companion) was heard to declare that she only hangs with girl D (my Daughter) because she is friends with girl E (Effervesntly cool girl) but that they both really hate her because she is some kind of skank. And girl A asks girl B not reveal to girl D that she was the source of this. Much upset and girl conclaving takes place.

You think grownups would be past this sort of thing, wouldn't you?

Not in my office.

Fuck.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Administering a Spanking

Now, I am a boss. I find it kind of uncomfortable, I never really wanted to be one. I have no attraction to whatever status or affirmation being a boss carries; mostly I find it somewhat frightening, to be carrying such a load of unearned and undeliverable expectations, frustrations, resentments, and applause.

I only got here because I wanted to get things done, could see things that could and should be done, and as part of that was willing to think of people as tools, as objects, to get the things I wanted to happen. That sounds bad, but here's some news: most people rather enjoy being thought of as tools, they enjoy being used, if they are being used for their talents, in the service of a higher cause. I certainly do, myself.

But the downside of being a boss, is that once in a while you have to redirect some thinking. You have to somehow get people to think differently about what they are doing. Thats sorta the nice way of putting it. Truthfully, once in a while you have to correct people. Not punish them really, but jar or shake them out ways of thinking that won't get the job done. Inflicting some fear is part of it. In the right context, Fear can be a Good Thing.

I had to do that today. I was both subtle and harsh, to the best of my ability. At a staff meeting, where I was telling the front line folks some good stuff, I administered a fairly hard subtext spanking to a manager. I was very pleased to see the one concerned smiling, whilst getting body blows that she could see but those around her couldn't. I hope she learnt something.

But with her I never know, she is strong, passionate, and hard working, but always a little off kilter and seeing things rather too soloplistically.

You know, I just want to make things happen, I really do not enjoy having to do things like this. I never wanted to be a boss, I never wanted all the responsibility, I just wanted stuff to go the right way.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Maybe I'm Martin Borman

When I started to think about this blog thing, I was thinking in terms of my own voice. But I am so much more comfortable commenting on other blogs and boards. I am getting less and less sure that I have my own voice, only my response to everyone else's.

Which shouldn't surprise me. Professionally, I've largely been a backroom boy, doing stuff for people, reinventing people, making people's ideas work. And yes, mostly figuring out ways to get my ideas into their vocabulary in return. I've never been able to perform the same services for myself. Whenever I sense its getting closer to me, I get very scared.

I so don't want to be out front, I just want to make the things I can get my hands on to work. And, truth be told, get my hands on as much as possible. Because I am much better at getting things to work than most people, I think.

But I really don't want to get in front of the curtain.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Figuring this out

I dunno, I'm finding this very hard. Doing it was a good exercise, but its making something clear to me: I am a very good communicator, but that depends a great deal on seeing & assessing my audience. I make great speeches, but much less effective essays. I am far better at one to one than one to many. I learnt to be good at communicating by understanding, studying, and learning how to see the feedback from my audience.

Consequently, I am beginning to think that broadcasting really isn't gonna be my strong suit.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

gangs & armies

I was trying to explain this all to my teenage son the other day. Because I have had no small professional acquaintance with gangs.

Its all about fear and belonging, I said. Mostly about fear, but also that intense adolescent wanting to belong. The irony is, that once you belong, you are even more scared. With reason.

Its all about creating a closed world, a safe/dangerous world. And its also alot about dragging the world down, about creating viscious circles. The worse things get, the more you need a gang. Just look at any prison.

There is a reason armies like recruiting young men. Not just or even mainly because young men are fit and healthy. Its because young men can be induced to kill. To Believe. To Hate. To Do Anything for Status. The army is just a sort of more professional type of street gang, writ large.

What's really scary, is that the army has started to aquire a taste for young women (just like street gangs have, actually). Turns out that they have buttons you can push too, and that these days, they are willing to have pushed.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Non Compliance

You hear a good deal about this, if you are a parent dealing with the school system and a bright but idiosyncratic child. Its even a recognized psychiatric disorder; how fascist is that?

Famous non-compliers:

Jesus Christ

Muhammad

Hitler

Moses

Martin Luther King

Martin Luther

Genghis Khan

Buddha

Gallileo

and so on.

Pretty much everyone who counts, really.

And many more, so many many more, who don't count. Who were very very brave, and got beaten and forgotten for their troubles. Real heroes, actually.

Anyway, you can shut down the Hitlers, at the price of shutting down the MLKs. I know where I land on that kind of decision. Oh the Hitlers have to be fought all right, those who give up their humanity to thrive on our hatreds, fears, and resentments truly are evil. But you can't fight ideas with laws, let alone rules.

Its as simple as that.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

I've Been Tagged (sorta)

1. Total number of books I've owned:

I have no idea. Thousands I am sure, I still have boxes and boxes in the basement that can't find shelf space. More to the point, in University, I used to work part time in the library. A university library is an amazing thing. I guess I didn't own the books, but I felt I had some kind of claim on them. Every night, I had to sort & card all the returns, so I would notice books I had never thought of reading. The Egyptian Book of the Dead, 1890 something version. The Journal of Psychadelic Drugs. Complete sets of Punch from the Victorian era. Swift. Liddel-Hart. Gibbons. Oh my.

2. Last book I bought

I do believe that that would be Reversable Errors by Scott Turrow. Used bookstore, cost a buck. I love and haunt used bookstores. Not a bad book, not as great as Presumed Innocent & The Burden of Proof, but much better than The Laws of Our Fathers. I'm not much into mystery & legal stuff, but the man sure does write well. Sorta like I read everything by John Le Carre, I'm not much into spies and action, but goddamn can that man write.

3. Last Book I Read

This is actually tough, because I usually have about three on the go at any given moment, and sorting out which I finished last requires some effort. I think it would be Merlin's Booke by Jane Yolen, another used bookstore buy. I'm just about done with The Structure of Evolutionary Theory by Stephen J. Gould (one of my heros).

4. Five (or so) books that mean something to me

Hmm. This is really really tough. I'm gonna go not with the best or favourite books, just the ones that shook me up one way or another.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller left me shaken, weeping. The ending was so terrible & sad after all the ha-has that the only hope I could see was that someone had written it down. And that people had read it; perhaps there is some hope.

Little, Big, by John Crowley, a book so amazing that it is impossible to describe, except to say its a fairy story. Maybe. (I've always thought Helprin's A Winter's Tale was a kind of pale companion.)

Sex and Destiny by Germain Greer. Its a polemic, so it perhaps overstates the case a little (ha), but it sure summed up a great deal of my thinking at the time. Still does.

Nova, by Samuel R. Delany. To my mind, the best science fiction book of all time. A poetic romp, just sheer joy to read each page.

The Narrow Road Through the Far North, by Basho. Quite possibly the deepest book I have ever read, and it is very short indeed.

Bonus: I suppose I should add the Bible. I'm not a conventionally religious man, and I certainly don't go to any church. But that book is so seminal to everything in our culture, both good and bad, that it bears reading and rereading. It maintains a permanent place in my bathroom. I prefer the poetry of the King James version, myself, though perhaps the American Standard captures the New Testament feeling a bit better.

5. Pick five people to tag

Nope, ain't gonna do it. I only did this cuz Lili asked me to. I don't believe that blogs are a kind of cult that need to support and link each other up all the time. In fact I'd be happier if no-one ever read this, its just for me, really. I'll just stay here in my little corner & play with my own toys, thankyou very much.

Besides, I am far from sure that I want any five of the people I relate to to know that I relate to any of the others.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Love the Boss

I do, my current boss. He is my friend, he has taught me so much.

But I am becoming more and more aware, that I am better at so much of this stuff than he is. There are things where he is better, very important things, but he is getting tired, and not so much up to it anymore I think.

Its kind of a horrible yet delightful sensation, when you see that. His achievements are legion, he has made truely wonderful things happen. But right now, I think, I can do it better.

There. I said it.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Back to the Horns

Saw Kingdom of Heaven the other day. Was struck by how much it actually did track history, I mean it isn't really accurate, but none of the big stuff was wrong really. I mean Balian wasn't sleeping with the princess, so far as we know, and certainly the whole army did not show up at Kerak (I've been there BTW, mostly a pile of stones on a hill). And Palestine is not really a desert. I wish they had shown what happened at and after theHorns of Hattin, it really was a most amazing story (and yes, Saladin really did personally kill Reynauld). Maybe in the dirctor's cut extended edition.

And of course they had to make it Good and Evil, if not between saracens and christians, then within the crusaders. But Reynauld and Guy (who weren't actually buddies) actually had a point. If you are a crusader, you aren't there to make friends. Your job is killing people. In the long term, a losing point, but a valid one none the less, from a crusader point of view.

I wonder how the movie is going down in Isreal?

Oh, and yes, it really did happen on the 4th of July.

Found again

Eek, I posted to a blog, and got automatically linked. Fuck.

This anonymity stuff is harder to maintain than I thought.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

I don't know

Perhaps because its beyond knowing. It might not have to do with knowing. And after all my years of dealing with people and the street, I learnt that truth is a fairly complex and debatable thing.

But I stumbled accross Lili-G. I don't quite know what to make of it. Well, truth is not an on and off switch, of course, and anybody interested will see things through their own lens. But her voice is pretty authentic. There are some questions I have about the story she tells, but at the end of the day, that doesn't matter.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Manzikert. look it up.

Well, lets see here. You totally dominate any conceivable threat, because you have much higher tech and better organization, and infrastucture and training and equipment and everything else. You win most of the time, but it doesn't solve anything, and then goatherds beat you, slowly and stupidly. Just once, is all it takes. Because for sure, eventually you will make a Big Mistake. Who's gonna win in the long run? Who always has?

Me, I'm pretty certain that Mr. bin Laden pretty much won: he got exactly what he wanted. People are paying attention to his cause. Terrorism has always been about recruiting, really. And making the other guys behave badly.

Well that, and the Horns of Hattin. One of the biggest Big Mistakes of all time, really. I garauntee you that Osama's boys know all about that. Do you?

Monday, March 28, 2005

No

Well, I wrote a long post on my take on politics and why be apolitical (sort of), but basically fuck that and I ain't gonna post it.

The best way not to be read is apparently poetry. So here goes:

wasted pixels and
thoughts, spring afternoon,
nowhere, a good place to be.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Found!

Holy crap, someone actually found this blog and left a comment! I figured in the millions and millions out there, no-one would ever pay any attention. Being that there are no naked people here and all, and I'm not gonna share my political opinions with anyone.

The whole idea was to try things out a little, before I go "public". Public being, letting folks know I now have a blog. I'm moderately well known, actually, and have a ton of connections that are really well connected, so when I go live or something like that, well, I better have a good idea what I'm doing, cuz its gonna be REALLY public.

Tho I may keep this one going, for all the things I can't say elsewhere.

Thanks for the note Christine.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

God works in mysterious ways

She does. Just did. Got a 6 week stave-off on my financial catastrophe, right out of the blue, directly resulting from past good works done with no expectation of personal reward. Thankyou god.

Keep up the good work!

Temptation, Wish I Had Some

You know, its really easy to be virtuous when you don't have any reason not to be.

I'd love to write about my interesting sex life, but I don't have one. I deeply admire and follow many sexblogs. But I've been married a long time, and that does tend to kill things off a bit. And having a bipolar barely functioning most of the time spouse doesn't help either.

But for a long time, no one has thrown themselves at me. And I have never been any damn good at being the hunter. Me, I wanna be seduced, not be the seducer. I've done it, but took very little pleasure in it. Seducing was bad enough. Hiring a prostitute is impossible: if convincing someone to like you is hard and unpleasant work, greatly reducing the joy in the pay off, paying someone to pretend they like you is a place that I just can't understand.

Its odd, one of the comforts I have in this desert, is that I had a pretty active, adventurous, and exciting sex life for a few years before I settled down. I don't feel that I've missed out on anything, because I did almost everything. Enough to have learnt, that all cats are pretty much grey in the dark, and that the more elaborate a fantasy is, the more work the logistics become. And that the less grounded they are, the more anxiety and doubt they produce.

What I really miss, is not the wild crazy sex, which is actually kinda stressful, but the not being an object of desire. I was, once, to a limited degree. But in over a decade now nobody has even gotten close to offering a hookup (tho twice I've had women apologizing for not being able to do so, for one reason or another, which was comforting). Then, I used to be able to be virtuous and say no. I'm not sure I could any more. So its probably good that it doesn't happen. But I sure do miss it.

I guess its this: I'm a little on the lonely side. I am highly desired and successful professionally (tho my chosen profession pays poorly, albeit with great personal rewards). I am not particularly successful on the interpersonal relationship side. I don't really like people, unless they like me a great deal. And there aren't all that many of those. I wish there were more.

Simply put, I'd like to be offered some temptation, without working at it; get it just because I am actually attractive. But I guess I'm not. Rich middle-aged men might be, I suppose. I'd have no trouble with women finding my money attractive, any more than anything else about me. But I don't have that either.

Perhaps the problem is that I don't actually care and devote attention to anything about me, I'm just so focussed on success in what I do. Narcisism is actually a pretty good route to getting laid, perhaps.

On the other hand, one must allow for the possibility that most women are Good, and see that wedding ring on my finger, and therefore do not pursue me. I don't really buy it, but its possible.

Monday, March 21, 2005

The Great Good Night

I am so sad. So broke, so out of time and chances. Really unpleasant things I've been able to stave off for three years now are going to come home to roost very soon. I am far from sure that I can take it, the coming storm.

Well, myself, I, were it only I, can take almost anything. But I have three kids, and a suicidally depressed wife. Its gonna be rough. Very rough.

How it starts: you actually start making some money, between you. Then your wife snaps, and its only you making money, on a two income life plan. Where lowering the lifestyle will likely drive the wife even further down, if there is such a thing. But your dad dies, so you inherit some cash, you actually have enough talent to up the take-home to replace maybe a quarter of her lost income, and you have a nice family, so you can beg and borrow and scrape it on for a while. But the party has to end sometime. Its ending now. Bye Bye.

And the party wasn't even that nice.

I have no idea why I'm writing this, its just words out there into that great electronic night, I cannot imagine anyone is reading this. Maybe god is. Hi god. Could use some help here.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Warming up

I wish it would. Damn March, I hate it worse every year.